out at 51 mph instead of the
Rhino’s 41–42 mph. EFI and
CVT response are similar
from a dead stop, but the
Viking does pull harder in the
midrange and upper revs.
HOW IS THE DELIVERY?
Top-shelf, like the Rhino!
The one-way sprag clutch
keeps tension on the CVT
belt, and Yamaha designed
the ducting for a cooler-running belt, so you don’t
have to go to low range for
gnarly obstacles as with
other brands. The EFI and
CVT tuning engage smoothly
and very quickly to inspire
confidence, like Thor wielding
his hammer in battle. The
found on the Rhino and
Grizzly was scrapped in favor
of a single knob, like on the
Teryx4, and it’s foolproof. The range
selector is on the dash and is very
positive, and the parking brake rides
alongside. EPS lets you stay in diff-lock
without increasing steering effort. Also,
the high-output stator has an external
oil cooler for running accessories.
WHAT ABOUT THE HANDLING?
It’s like a really wide Rhino. Turns
can be hammered without fear of the
mongo bicycle, as the Viking has a
stance wider than a RZR S and a rear
torsion bar to fight body roll. The Viking
turns in effortlessly and drifts well on
smoother surfaces, but rough corners
are less predictable. To handle the 600-
pound bed payload, the rear nitrogen-charged shocks are very stiff, and this
upsets the chassis in rough turns and
creates rear-wheel chatter and hop.
Water bars and G-outs can be hit faster
and harder without bottoming, though.
HOW’S THE IRS SUSPENSION?
Stiffer than the sidewalls on a run-flat Moapa. Like we said, there are
no preload rings to adjust, as the
spring rates are very high to resist
bottoming with a loaded bed. This is
a work vehicle first and foremost, so
shock spring and damping rates were
designed for cargo in the bed, and it
rides smoother with two or three people
and gear in the bed. There are 8.1
inches of travel, front and rear, which
puts the Viking in line with the Teryx4,
but the shocks are stiffer. Wheel
spacers would give the tires more
leverage on the shocks.
HOW SPORTY IS IT?
With the wider stance, stiffer shocks
and higher speeds, the Viking is sportier
than the Sport Rhino, but it is also
much more capable as a work vehicle.
Expect a new sport UTV from Yamaha
soon, maybe in 2015?
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s way beyond the Rhino! The
two-piece seats are comfortable, and
the center seat is tilted back to lessen
rubbing shoulders. Dead pedals (foot
platforms) provide a firm base to press
yourself into the seat, as opposed to
holding on with your upper body. The
driver’s seat can be adjusted, and the
steering-stem angle and steering wheel
are comfortable. EPS lightens steering
effort, which is pretty light on non-EPS
models, and vibration from the big
single isn’t annoying. Engine heat does
make its way into the cab, and the
rear-engine design is louder than the
Rhino’s with its engine cowling. Storage
is ample with two dash compartments
and a big space under the driver’s
seat. An adjustable Z-bar is new for
passengers, but the steel bed rattles on
Width is 61. 8 inches, so the Viking is wider than a
Polaris RZR S, and it’s designed to fit in crop rows
on the farm. Steering is fairly light without EPS and
almost criminally easy with it. Even the styling is
A wide dump bed holds 600 pounds, and the base
is steel for durability. Holes along the outside rails
are designed for movable partitions, and the tilt
release is on either side. A rear 2-inch receiver is
rated to tow 1500 pounds.
As much as we like the foolproof 2WD/4WD/diff-lock system on the
Grizzly and Rhino, the Viking has a single knob with positions for
all three. The two drink-holders on each side of the dash could be
deeper; bottles fly out over rough ground.
Here’s a cutaway of the Viking showing the 9.7-gallon fuel cell with
EFI pump and the huge still airbox under the center seat, which draws
air from under the hood at dash level. Heat migrates into the cab
from under the seats.